Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation is a term used in the United States to refer to the process by which one of several accrediting bodies—each primarily serving one of six defined geographic areas of the country—accredits schools, colleges, and universities. Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation, supported by peer-review, in which an institution or program is assessed against a set of standards. Each regional organization oversees the accreditation review process and maintains accreditation statuses for the majority of public and non-profit private educational institutions in the region it serves.

Regionally accredited schools are predominantly academically oriented, non-profit institutions. Nationally accredited schools, by contrast, are predominantly for-profit and offer vocational, career or technical programs. Each college has the right to set standards and determine how transfer credits are accepted, though it may be difficult to transfer credits (or even credit for a completed degree) from a nationally accredited school to one that is accredited regionally (and vice-versa). Some regionally accredited colleges refuse to accept any credits from nationally accredited schools, while others are reluctant to accept them because they have concerns about academic standards or are generally unfamiliar with a particular school. Any student who is planning to transfer credits from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited school should ensure that the regionally accredited school will accept the credits before they enroll in the nationally accredited school.

List of Regional Accreditors

The following are the regional accrediting organizations for educational institutions in the United States:

Primary and Secondary School Accreditation

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Accrediting educational institutions in the mid-Atlantic region as well as some international regions (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, as well as schools for American children in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East). Search for high schools. Search for colleges.
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Accrediting educational institutions in the six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Search for high schools. Search for colleges.
  • Cognia: Accrediting educational institutions in the Northwest, Southern, and North Central states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming). Search for high schools.
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Accrediting educational institutions in primarily the West (California, Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Asia, and other parts of the world). Search for high schools.

College and University Accreditation

Other Approved Organizations

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) maintains a list of approved accreditors for independent high schools, and accreditation through one of these organizations is required for full membership. Schools that maintain full member status within NAIS are considered accredited by the University of Oregon. Search for independent high schools.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) maintains a list of organizations that work cooperatively with WASC. Schools that work with these organizations are considered accredited by the University of Oregon.